Tony Smith’s new role to spur tourism, economic development in Pinal

By Cameron Jobson | InMaricopa

A familiar voice in Pinal County hopes to bring job opportunities, revenue and fun to Maricopa in his new role.  

Tony Smith has been appointed to the Southern Arizona Sports, Tourism and Film Authority by former Arizona Speaker of the House Rusty Bowers. Maricopa and Pinal County are considered southern Arizona for this committee. 

Smith is a former Maricopa mayor and former member of the Pinal County Board of Supervisors.  

The authority was created by the Legislature last year to promote economic development from tourism, using sports, film and other entertainment venues. Southern Arizona had a rich history of film and professional sports.  Those industries have moved away in the past 20 years. Among the authority’s early projects is working to bring them back. 

During his five-year term on the authority, Smith plans to scour Maricopa for new tourism and venue opportunities in hopes of increasing the regional and national draw to the county.  

“I will work with local mayors, council members and economic-development groups in order to find ways in which we can elevate Pinal County,” Smith said. “I want to bring it to the next level.”  

Smith is keeping an eye on the Apex Motor Club facility and Maricopa’s regional park, Copper Sky. With the continuing growth of the city, these facilities are only going to expand, he said.  

“They’re going to revamp. I think there are greater plans to bring a higher level of sports to the county,” Smith said. “Maybe interject the possibility of professional alliances with some sports teams.” 

The authority is interested in partnering with Maricopa to help move these ideas forward, according to Smith.  

“We want to see if there’s a part we can play, maybe like removing some roadblocks that might be holding it back from being successful or to help marketing and promotion,” Smith said. 


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February 2023